Jen, over at Factor 10 had a fantasy blogger's party and invited her bloggy friends. Nikki (as in What Do I Do Now?) sat all her blogging friends down a told them a story of how she came to be in possession of Elvis' scarf.
These two posts got me to thinking about my "virtual" friends - and how we got that way.
My father says the most amazing thing to him is the little community I have become a part of. It's like high school chums without the jealousy and the fighting. We just chat about what's going on in our lives and the friends come to comment. He reads the comments almost as avidly as my posts. My mother is the same way.
So just how did I come across these amazing people? The same way you do in real life! I met ALICE IN WONDERBREAD a little more than a couple of years ago at eDiets. We were both posting in the "Addiction Recovery" section while we were trying to quit smoking. We both managed to do it, and stayed on a while longer to cheer the other non-smoking hopefuls on. During that time, she invited me to read her blog. Blog? What's a blog? And why would I read it???? But I went to the web address she gave me, read her blog, and immediately became a blog fan. Alice was DEEP. She talked about things with an insight that just blew me away. Her writing was good, too!
In fact, she inspired me to start my own blog. I wasn't sure what I would write about, but I thought it might be a good idea to get into the habit of writing again. I used to be a world champion letter writer. EVERYONE got letters from me. Long, chatty, full-of-news letters. Then I got married and Darling Man and I were working hard, at jobs, on our home - and my letters became sparser and sparser. Then I had a baby. Goodbye letters. You were lucky if there's a Christmas card every couple of years. So I began getting back in the habit of writing. I told my family about it and they started checking in from time to time. Word spread, and pretty soon, everyone I knew seemed to be checking in on us via my blog. So it evolved into an open letter to friends and family about what was happening in my/our lives - a daily letter!!!! Only two people get real letters from me anymore. Both my paternal grandparents - neither of whom are on computers or the internet. So I post my letters overseas once a month (at least that's the aim) to keep them up to date on things.
But friends and family weren't the only commenters! Strange names began popping up and making comments on my blog as well. Perhaps they found me the same way I began finding them. When I first signed on to Blogger, they had a Random Blog scroll that would cycle through as blogs got updated. So when a title came up that looked interesting, I'd click on it just to see. Some were good, some were so-so, some were in totally different languages - but some of them were great - and I commented. That's how I found OH THE JOYS, who made me laugh uproariously over parenthood, even when it didn't seem all that funny. I don't know many people who can make butts and poo sound so appealing. And THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO RHYS (which I clicked on because I almost named my son that). Rhys is in North Wales, where my father did a lot of his growing up. He also has the same surname as my great grandfather - and there's the remote possibility that we are, in fact, related!!! So I began following the adventures of Rhys.
Somewhere along the line, I ran into Nikki at EVERYBODY CAN JUST BITE MY ASS, and she had a weightloss contest idea, which was called "Operation Lose That Ass". And I met a lot of very cool bloggers through that. Once a week, we would post pictures or write about our progress in losing our asses. One poster, Quinn, put up a weekly picture of herself holding her pedometer. I was stunned - I had pictures of myself that looked JUST LIKE HER!!!! It was a bit freaky, actually. If I didn't know for a fact that I was a single birth, I'd think she was my twin. And she happens to be an adoptee. And her son looks like an older version of my son.
And then there's the writers. When I clicked on THE WRITING LIFE, it was obvious where I was going. All my life, I've wanted to write. And I have written a lot. But nothing published. It's one of those someday goals of mine, which has come closer because of all the inspiring people I've met in Blogland. Nienke writes for a living and for fun (or as fun as writing with the hope of being published can be). She introduced me to NaNoWriMo, which I am planning to participate in next year. And in one of her posts, she talked about someone who'd left a Santa Hat in her refridgerator.... S WILLIAM is also a writer! He'd been working madly on "The Santa Mysteries" for a while when I "met" him. I visited his blog, liked his writing style and stuck around. This past January, I became a Beta-reader for him, reading and critiquing the first 50 pages of his book. Loved them, and can't wait for the rest.
And let's not forget Janet at THE ART OF GETTING BY. I stumbled across Janet early on and liked her a lot. She's an encyclopedia of 80's information, a third-grade teacher, and now engaged to her boyfriend of seven years. I'm sure you've seen her name - she asks questions every Tuesday. Sometimes I answer, sometimes I don't, but I always check in to see what she's asking and who's answering. Which has led me to Chris (WALKING THE LONG ROAD) and Dawn (SO A BLONDE WALKS INTO A BLOG), both interesting bloggers in their own right.
I can't really tell you how KEVIN CHARNAS slipped into my lineup. He seems to pop up all over my little blogging community, so I'm sure I first visited via someone else's blog. But I found him funny and thoughtful and very stylish (see the Halloween costumes!!!!) and worth checking in on a daily basis.
There are plenty of people I've left out of this post - people from Canada, India, England, Scotland, Houston. Mommies, writers, teachers, newly-married men, gay men, ladies who like to drink beergaritas or chocolate martinis. I can't include everyone without spending all night writing this post. So visit the folks on my Blogroll. These are my virtual friends - who are real friends that I haven't met yet.